February 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of major American businesses have lent their names to a letter denouncing Tennessee’s newly-enacted law protecting the right of adoption agencies to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father, warning of economic repercussions if lawmakers continue to put religious liberty above the LGBT agenda.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee recently signed into law HB 836, which would ensure that licensed adoption agencies cannot be forced to make child placement decisions that “violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies,” and cannot be sued, denied public funds, or be rejected for license applications on the basis of such a decision.
A variety of social science literature supports the conviction that children are best served by homes with both a mother and a father, yet a coalition of companies calling itself Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination have spoken out against HB 836 and upcoming similar laws, CNBC reported. Among the signatories are Amazon, American Airlines, Dell, Lyft, Marriott, Nike, and more than 100 small businesses within the state.
The initiative was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce along with pro-LGBT groups GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, and Freedom for All Americans.
“We believe Tennessee’s continued growth and innovation rely on the state being open and welcoming to everyone,” the coalition’s letter stated. The recent passage of HB 836 sends the opposite message … Policies that signal that the state is not welcoming to everyone put our collective economic success at risk.”
“We ask that lawmakers not pursue any further legislation that would target or exclude LGBTQ people, which would do harm to Tennesseans and create unnecessary hurdles to economic competitiveness,” the letter implored.
The adoption measure is one of six bills state lawmakers introduced last year to protect religious liberty and conscience rights against the LGBT agenda, which national figures including singer Taylor Swift have attacked as a “slate of hate.”
The other bills forbid local governments from penalizing businesses for their health insurance and anti-discrimination policies; increase punishment for indecent exposure in bathrooms and dressing rooms; require the state to defend schools from lawsuits over their refusal to admit gender-confused boys into girls’ restrooms (and vice versa); and declare as “void” any court decision forcing recognition of same-sex “marriage.”
So far, Gov. Lee has not let such pressure change his stance.
“I think equality is important and protection of rights is important and the rights of religious liberty are important,” he said in a recent interview. “And that bill was centered around protection of religious liberty, and that’s why I signed it.”